Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Three Tombs of Jesus: Which is the Real One?

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Garden Tomb

The Talpiot Family Tomb

In 2017 I took a six week course on the Archaeology of the City of Jerusalem.  If memory serves correctly, the teacher was an active archaeologist in-and-around Jerusalem and Israel for 37 years before retiring. I remember him showing a slide or two of what he considered was the real tomb of Jesus. Though I am still in doubt of any proposed locations of our Lord's grave I remember the slide showing a rocky outcropping on a hillside with a degraded non-descript tomb underneath the rocky rubble. It wasn't much and very few visit it. Still, some must know about it though I have failed to locate its site or pictures on the Internet. If further information can be found please post your findings and links in the message area below. Otherwise, the tomb of the Lord Jesus is empty and His life, passion, and resurrection now lives in those whose hearts declare Him as Saviour and Lord. Together let us shout, "He Is Risen!" Peace.

R.E. Slater
April 24, 2021

A loculus (burial place)

The details of the Biblical tomb of Jesus ("Jesus' tomb") precisely match those mentioned in the Bible, as follows:
  • The Bible says Jesus was buried in a tomb near Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified: "So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby" (John 19:42). Jesus' tomb is located just 90 meters northwest of Golgotha.
  • The Bible says Jesus was laid in a tomb "hewn out of the rock" (Mark 15:46).
  • The Bible says Jesus was laid in "a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid" (John 19:41). The body of Jesus was laid in a loculus (burial place) by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Notice how the rock facade slopes into a 'pillow' at the head (left) but drops off at a right angle at the opposite (right) end. On the other side of Jesus' tomb (under the area shown below) is a second loculus whose rock 'pillow' had not yet been smoothed, indicating that the tomb was almost but not quite finished and therefore new when Jesus' body was laid in it.
Jesus Tomb
The Bible says that a "large stone" was rolled "against the door of the tomb" (Matthew 27:60). The 1.5 liter (50 ounce) water bottle in the groove running along the front facade of Jesus' tomb gives an idea of the size of the stone that was rolled along it to enclose the tomb.

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Three Tombs of Jesus: Which is the Real One?

April 20, 2019

This is not one of the purported tombs of Jesus. This tomb is located on a road in Galilee from Mount Carmel to Megiddo near the Jezreel Valley. It is one of the best examples of a first-century rolling stone tomb in all of Israel. It’s likely similar to the one in which Jesus was buried as the gospels record that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was sealed by a rolling stone (Matthew 27.60; Mark 15.46; Luke 24.2).

The tomb in which they buried Jesus of Nazareth was empty that first Easter morning. On this point the ancient eyewitnesses agree.1 The vast majority of modern scholars – critical or otherwise – also agree.2

There are three tombs in Jerusalem people point to as the place Jesus of Nazareth was originally laid to rest in. Which one is the real one? Is there archaeological and historical evidence that can provide an answer to this question? Let’s analyze the claims of each tomb to see which site is the best candidate for being the actual place where Jesus was buried.

The Talpiot Family Tomb was discovered in 1980 and likely belonged to a
middle class family in the first century. Photo Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

The Talpiot Family Tomb

Located about 5km south of the Old City of Jerusalem is the Talpiot Family Tomb. It was originally discovered in 1980, but rose to fame with the 2007 Discovery Channel documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” which was produced by James Cameron and directed by Simcha Jacobovici.

Ten ossuaries were discovered within the Talpiot tomb bearing names such as Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The filmmakers identified one of the ossuaries bearing the inscription “Mariamene” as belonging to Mary Magdalene, suggesting she was married to Jesus.3 Only two of the ossuaries contained a patronym helpful in identification: “Jude, son of Jesus” and “Jesus, son of Joseph.” This has led some to conclude Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene had a son named Judah. However, scholars have pointed out that the presence of names such as Jesus, Joseph and Mary is not as compelling an argument as the filmmakers made it out to be. Simply put, they were among the most popular Hebrew names in the first century A.D.; Cameron and Jacobovici have read more into these names than is warranted.4

Supporters of the Talpiot tomb also point to DNA testing, which demonstrated that Jesus and Mariamene were not maternally related. In the Discovery Channel documentary, the filmmakers use this as evidence to suggest they were married. Critics have pointed out, however, that they could have been paternally related (ie. father and daughter, or grandfather and granddaughter).

Scholar James Tabor contends that that the famous “James, brother of Jesus” ossuary came from the Talpiot tomb, suggesting it was the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Chemical testing that was financed by filmmaker, Simcha Jacobvici, is often cited as evidence that the James ossuary came from the Talpiot tomb. A “chemical fingerprint” is said to have been found on both, with similar trace amounts of phosphorus, chrome and nickel, components in the clay of East Jerusalem soil. As impressive as this sounds, however, a very small sample size was used, calling into question the results. Moreover, the James ossuary may have come from another tomb in East Jerusalem; the tests do not prove it came from the Talpiot tomb. Also, the physical appearance of the James ossuary, with its pitted and worn surface is unlike the smooth limestone surfaces of the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb. Archaeologist, Shimon Gibson, who was one of the original excavators of the Talpiot tomb has stated, “I don’t think the James ossuary has anything to do with Talpiot.”5

It is interesting to note that, of the scholars interviewed for the documentary, all but James Tabor (who believes it is the family tomb of Jesus) have since objected to the way their statements were used and misrepresented.6 This, in and of itself, should give people pause in accepting the conclusions of the filmmakers.

Finally, the supporters of the Talpiot family tomb have failed to adequately explain the most obvious flaw in their theory: since Jesus’ family was from Galilee, why would they have a family tomb in Jerusalem? Archaeologist, Jodi Magness, has pointed out that, at the time of Jesus, only wealthy families buried their families in rock-cut tombs and used the secondary burial practice of later interring the bones in ossuaries. A poor family from Galilee would have used an ordinary grave. Furthermore, Magness asserts that the names on the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb indicates that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, where people were known by their first name and father’s name, whereas Galileans would have used their first name and hometown.7 

Verdict: Amos Kloner, one of the original excavators of the Talpiot family tomb, sums it up best: “It makes a great story for a TV film. But it’s completely impossible. It’s nonsense. There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle class family from the 1st century CE.“8

The Garden Tomb, as it appeared in the 1920’s, was only identified as a possible
site for the tomb of Jesus in the 19th century. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Garden Tomb

Another possible location for the tomb of Jesus is the Garden Tomb, popularized in 1883 by Charles Gordon (hence its alternate name – Gordon’s Tomb). Its serene setting in a garden makes it a popular tourist destination, particularly with evangelical Christians, who come to see the spot where Jesus was buried.

The history of the Garden tomb is littered with questionable identification tactics, such as Gordon’s belief that Jerusalem represented the shape of a skeleton with Skull Hill being the head9, and outright fraud, like Ron Wyatt’s claim to have found the Ark of the Covenant nearby.10

More importantly, no Second-Temple-era tombs have been found anywhere in the vicinity.11 Archaeologist, Gabriel Barkay, who has studied the tomb complex in which the Garden Tomb is located has concluded that it is an Iron Age tomb, dating to the 7th or 8th centuries B.C.. Its typology clearly resembles the other First-Temple era tombs in the area, particularly those on the property of the nearby Basilica of St. Stephen.12 The Garden Tomb was not a “new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” (John 19:41); it was already over 600 years old by the time of Jesus.

Verdict: While there is perhaps value in having a tomb in the peaceful setting of a garden which reminds people of what the original tomb setting may have been like, this is not the actual tomb of Jesus.

While it doesn’t look much like a tomb anymore, this edicule surrounds the remains of purported tomb of Jesus within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Photo Credit: http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The site with the oldest attestation to being the resting place of Jesus of Nazareth lies within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In his work, Life of Constantine, early Christian writer Eusebius described how the emperor ordered the removal of the pagan temple that Hadrian had built and the discovery of the tomb beneath. He also wrote about Constantine’s order to construct a church to honor the site.13 Archaeological research has demonstrated that this was the site of a Jewish cemetery in an ancient limestone quarry outside the walls of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’s death.14

Today a shrine called the edicule surrounds the remains of the ancient tomb. As part of restorations in 2016 to clean and structurally improve the edicule, experts removed the limestone slab that covered the burial bed of the tomb for the first time in almost 500 years. During the unsealing of the tomb, mortar samples [were taken] from different locations in the structure which confirmed the construction date of the mid-4th century and the rebuilt crusader chapel from the middle ages. The mortar was dated using a technique known as optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) that calculates the last time the quartz sediment was exposed to light. The tests were conducted independently at two separate labs.15 These tests affirmed the ancient written history of the site.

Verdict: Archaeologist John McRay sums it up best: “Although absolute proof of the location of Jesus’ tomb remains beyond our reach, the archaeological and early literary evidence argues strongly for those who associate it with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”


The testimony of the earliest disciples is that they had witnessed Jesus of Nazareth alive after his death and burial. They spent time with him, ate with him, touched him and listened to him teach. For them, the empty tomb and their experience with their risen Lord formed the foundation of their belief in who Jesus was (God – John 20:28) and what he had done (died to pay the penalty for the sins of the world – 1 John 2:2). The resurrection of Jesus was at the very heart of the gospel they preached (Acts 2:32-38) and remains the central teaching of Christianity 2000 years later.


1 Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus who affirmed the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-10). Eusebius records that Mark wrote the memories of Peter in the gospel he wrote, which testifies to the empty tomb (Mark 16:1-8). Luke claims to have written an orderly account based on the testimonies of eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2-3) and he also records the empty tomb (Luke 24:1-12). Furthermore, both those guarding the tomb and the Chief Priests who pushed for Jesus’s crucifixion acknowledged this fact and concocted a tale about the disciples stealing the body to explain the empty tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). It is telling that the earliest witnesses to tomb being empty and to having met the risen Jesus were women, a class that was sadly discounted as unreliable in the first century.

2 Gary Habermas, “Resurrection Research from 1975 to the Present: What are Critical Scholars Saying?” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 3.2 (2005), pp. 135-153. http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005.htm (Accessed April 10, 2019).

3 Gordon Franz, “The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb.” Associates for Biblical Research. March 17. 2007. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/03/17/The-So-Called-Jesus-Family-Tomb-Rediscovered-in-Jerusalem.aspx#id_aa8623ff-f527-46ca-a577-4164ece9e5ea (Accessed April 10, 2019).

4 For a good analysis of the actual inscriptions on the ossuaries as well as a statistical analysis of the rarity of these names I recommend Dr. Michael S. Heisler’s article, “Thinking Clearly About the ‘Jesus Family Tomb’” which was published in the Fall 2008 issue of Bible and Spade magazine. It is available online here: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/03/26/Thinking-Clearly-About-the-Jesus-Family-Tomb.aspx

5 Ben Witherington, “Once More with Feeling— Did the James Ossuary come out of the Talpiot Tomb?” The Bible and Culture. April 7, 2015. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2015/04/07/once-more-with-feeling-did-the-james-ossuary-come-out-of-the-talpiot-tomb/ (Accessed March 30, 2020).

6 Michael S. Heiser, “Thinking Clearly About The ‘Jesus Family Tomb’.” Associates for Biblical Research. March 26, 2010. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/03/26/Thinking-Clearly-About-the-Jesus-Family-Tomb.aspx (Accessed April 11, 2019).

7 Alan Cooperman and the Washington Post, “Experts dismiss claim of finding Jesus’ tomb.” East Bay Times, March 3, 2007, updated August 17. 2016. https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2007/03/03/experts-dismiss-claim-of-finding-jesus-tomb/ (Accessed March 30, 2020). 

8 Gordon Franz, “The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb.” Associates for Biblical Research. March 17. 2007. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/03/17/The-So-Called-Jesus-Family-Tomb-Rediscovered-in-Jerusalem.aspx#id_aa8623ff-f527-46ca-a577-4164ece9e5ea (Accessed April 11, 2019).

9 John McRay, Archaeology and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991), 211-212.

10 Jonathan Gardner, “The Adventist Indiana Jones: Hoax or Hope?” The Compass Magazine, February 26, 2019. https://thecompassmagazine.com/uncategorized/the-adventist-indiana-jones-hoax-or-hope-part-2 (Accessed April 12, 2019).

11 John McRay, Archaeology and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991), 207.

12 Gabriel Barkay, “The Garden Tomb – Was Jesus Buried Here?” Biblical Archaeology Review 12, no. 2 (March/April 1986): 40-57.

13 Eusebius, Life of Constantine, Book 3, Chapters 25-27. Summarized here: Ancient Witnesses on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. http://www.pravoslavie.ru/82456.html (Accessed April 12, 2019).

14 Kristen Romey, “Unsealing of Christ’s Reputed Tomb Turns Up New Revelations” National Geographic. October 31, 2016. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/ (Accessed April 12, 2019).

15 Kristen Romey, “Exclusive: Age of Jesus Christ’s Purported Tomb Revealed” National Geographic. November 28, 2017. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/jesus-tomb-archaeology-jerusalem-christianity-rome/ (Accessed April 12, 2019).

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Worshippers surround the Edicule at an Easter mass procession at the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Ammar Awad/Reuters

Scientists have found that the tomb of Jesus Christ is far older than people thought

by Alexandra Ma
Nov 28, 2017

* Scientists have dated that the tomb of Christ to almost 1,700 years ago.

* The tomb is at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

* It is the most widely accepted burial site of Christ.

* People previously thought the tomb had been no more than 1,000 years old.

The tomb in which Jesus Christ is believed to be buried is older than everybody thought, scientists have revealed.

Tests run on the the remains of a limestone cave in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have dated the tomb to around AD 345, National Geographic reported on Tuesday.

The cave, the oldest architectural remnant on the site, is therefore 1,700 years old. The scientific process analysed chemicals in the remains to find out how long it had been since they were last exposed to light.

Previous architectural evidence found around the site had dated only to the Crusader period, around 1,000 years ago.

The vault is widely believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, referred to in the Bible as Calvary or Golgotha. An archaeological study on the site last year found that the tomb had never been moved.

While the New Testament says Jesus died either in AD 30 or 33, historical accounts suggest that Romans located and enshrined the tomb in AD 326.

The date corresponds to the rule of Constantine I, the Roman emperor who converted to Christianity and declared it the official religion of the empire. From this point it became more common to build large monuments to Christ.

The tomb was totally destroyed and subsequently rebuilt in the year 1009, prompting historians to doubt whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was the same burial site discovered by the Romans.

However, the latest scientific tests, carried out for over a year by the National Technical University of Athens, have suggested otherwise.

The technique used is called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), National Geographic said. It determines how recently quartz sediment in samples from the tomb's mortar were exposed to light.

The magazine said the results will be published in full in a forthcoming archaeological journal.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Tomb: Candles placed on top of the tomb
after its restoration in March. | Photo Credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

The tomb was opened to the public for the first time in centuries last October, when scientists began restoring a shrine enclosing the tomb, also known as the Edicule.

The nine-month restoration project took $4 million (£3.3 million), The Guardian reported.

While it remains archaeologically impossible to say the tomb belonged to Jesus of Nazareth, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the most widely accepted site of Christ's burial.

Dan Bahat, former city archaeologist of Jerusalem, previously said: "We may not be absolutely certain that the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus' burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty."

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Where Was Jesus Buried?

Where was Jesus buried after his brutal death, by crucifixion, at the hands of the Romans? Suprisingly, the Bible tells us quite a bit about where his body was placed for what would amount to exactly three full days and three full nights (Matthew 12:40). [note: historically, 3 partial days and 3 partial nights - re slater]

The place where the body of Jesus was buried was in a garden and in a new sepulchre or tomb which never had a dead person placed in it (John 19:41). It was located outside the then current walls of the city of Jerusalem (verse 20), possibly close to the Damascus Gate.

The tomb, owned by a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea, was hewn out of a rock and had a large, round stone door that could seal the entrance (Isaiah 53:4 - 6, 10 - 11, Matthew 27:57 - 60, Luke 23:50 - 53). The interior of the tomb that contained Jesus was big enough for a person or two to sit or stand in (Mark 16:5, John 20:5 - 6, 11 - 12), although it required a person to stoop down in order to enter it.

Possible locations

There are two primary sites in Jerusalem that are identified as possible locations where Jesus was buried. They are the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden (also known as Gordon's) tomb. The church is believed to have been consecrated and built in 335 A.D., demolished in 1009, and rebuilt in 1048.

In 1842 A.D. a man by the name of Otto Thenius proposed that the place where Jesus was crucified, called Calvary (Golgotha) in Scripture, was the same as the place called the 'place of the skull.' In 1867 A.D., the discovery of a garden tomb (shown in the picture above) occurred near the place of the skull.

The connection of the garden tomb to where Christ was believed to be buried with the location of Golgotha received prominence through a British general named Charles Gordon.

In 1883, General Gordon found a rocky ridge or plateau (which today is seen from the back of a bus station) that, from several angles, looks like the face of a skull. Golgotha, the name of the place where Jesus was crucified, is an Aramaic word that means skull (Mark 15:21 - 22).

General Gordon concluded that the rocky outcrop he thought looked like a skull was high likely to have been the Biblical place known as Golgotha. This is why another name for this general location is Gordon's Tomb. Many believe (including a majority of Protestants) this location, and not the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (which is the traditional place thought to be where the burial occurred), is the place where the body of Jesus was buried.

Tomb characteristics

The Garden tomb consists of at least two chambers. To the right of the first chamber a second chamber can be seen. Benches made of stone line the walls of chamber number two, except in the places where the walls join and running along the first chamber's back wall. The benches, though heavily damaged throughout the years, can still be seen.

The groove edge outside the burial location, in the above image, is cut diagonally. As was prophesied in Isaiah (Isaiah 53:8 - 9) Jesus was buried in the tomb of a rich man even though many believed he was a criminal deserving of the death penalty (Matthew 27:57 - 60).

Who visited the burial site?

The Bible states that several people visited the garden tomb during and after Jesus was buried. They include Joseph of Arimathea, a rich member of the Sanhedrin, and Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who together placed Christ in Joseph's new burial location (Matthew 27:57 - 61, Mark 15:42 - 47, Luke 23:50 - 55, John 19:38 - 42).

Mary Magdalene and "another Mary" checked where the Lord was buried late on a Saturday afternoon just before the resurrection (Mark 16:1). Mary Magdalene and other women revisit the site early Sunday morning, with Peter and John running to the location later in the day (see Luke 24) to also check on the body of Jesus.

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The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre